A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is an environmental assessment under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) that is required as part of the assessment of activities needing approval under NSW legislation.
It describes the key features of the project and assesses the potential environmental and social impacts during construction and operation.
An REF document also makes recommendations on measures to manage and minimise potential impacts from the project.
If the impacts are considered to be significant, then an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared and considered prior to a determining authority deciding if an activity is likely to proceed. REFs that relate to an issue that is controversial or will significantly affect the public may be placed on public exhibition.
The REF covers topics such as noise, vibration, traffic, air quality, flooding, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage, and socio-economic, property and biodiversity impacts.